JAY-The boys were able to send the fans home happy after the game number two of the twin billing, as they picked up the 4-1 victory over Rice, winning their second game in a row
"It's good to have a couple (of wins) to rub together. It has been a while and it feels good," said Andrew Roy his teams' first back-to-back wins of the year.
Just fifty seconds into the game the Falcons were whistled for a Logan Fortier kneeing penalty, and it looked like it was going to be another long night of extended penalty killing for the boys in white.
A minute and fifty-five seconds later Adam Viens was sent a away for holding, and that just re-enforced the belief that North Country seemed to enjoy playing a man down.
"We have one of the best penalty kills in the league, but we still would like to take less penalties," said Ross DeLaBruere squashing any belief that North Country preferred to play with three or four skaters as instead of five.
After killing off the Viens penalty, the Falcons settled down and started to play some hockey. The play was going both ways in the early going, and a big part of Rice's game on Saturday was the smallest guy on the ice, Sam Nestor.
The freshman Nestor looked to stand about 5'4" in his skates, but he was quick, had good hands, and eluded North Country checkers with ease.
Neither team scored in the opening period, and it was on to the second to see which team would crack first.
It would be the Green Knights.
DeLaBruere tipped the puck to Nate Stewart in the neutral zone and he got the jump on the Rice D and went in alone on Ian Koupash. His first shot was stopped, but he was there for the rebound and he jammed it home with 11:38 left to play in the second.
As the period progressed, more penalty problem plagued the Falcons, but they stood tall in front of their net minder, getting some nice shot blocking up front and down low.
"The kill was good, and we even had a few offensive chances off of it. We had some mental mistakes, they were not dirty or even really rough penalties, just mental mistakes that we need to take care of," said Roy.
With just over two minutes left in the period, North Country got their first full power-play of the game and wasted no time taking advantage of it.
Logan Fortier wristed a puck towards the net that deflect off of Ryan Paul and behind Koupash to put the Falcons up 2-1 a mere twenty-five seconds into the PP.
Rice ended Chris Bronson's bid for a second straight shut-out with twenty-five point two seconds left in the period as Nestor picked up a rebound and found a hole just big enough for him to squeeze it in short side.
North Country struck again on the man advantage five minutes into the third period to increase their lead to two.
This time it was a combination of some nice passing by the power-play unit and a great diving effort by DeLaBruere who send the puck past the sprawling goaltender for his first of the night.
They almost went up four to one right after the DeLaBruere goal, but a great glove save by defenseman Luke Nestor bailed out his keeper and saved the Knights.
With the clock ticking down, the Falcons short-handed, and the Rice net empty, DeLaBruere added his second goal of the contest with twenty-two point five seconds left to play in the game as he broke out his own zone, raced down the ice, and sent it into the empty net.
"I was shooting the puck really well today. After last game where I missed two breakaways it felt nice to get back into the goal column," DeLaBruere said of his performance.
The lower classmen have been very active for North Country this year, especially Paul and DeLaBruere, and it has not gone unnoticed by their coaches.
"Those two guys, we can put them out there in a lot of different situations and know that they are going to hold it down for us. To step in as sophomores and do that is impressive and we excited to continue to watch them grow."
It was a good week for the boys as they doubled their season win total and continue building confidence for a strong second half march.
Said Roy, "It is really important to pick up as many points in the home stretch as we can, so we will put these wins behind us and get ready for Spaulding on Wednesday."
The boys head to Barre to face the Tide with the puck dropping at 8:00.
Bronson had 20 saves in the contest and Koupash had